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About Us

name & symbols

The title "Voices of Pacific Island Nations (VOPIN)" is intended to foster unity and representation of the multiple sub-cultures of the Pacific Region or Oceania. Pacific Islander communities in Washington State are from different island nations of Oceania. 

The logomark consists of, Tattoo patterns, Hibiscus flower, and Pacific Nation flags. The elaborate design patterns are used in tattooing, which symbolizes the identity, heritage, and cultural pride of Pacific Islanders. The art of tattooing is thought to have originated from Polynesia, and the word tattoo is from the Samoan word, Tatau (which means Initiation), introduced in the English language by Captain James Cook after returning from his voyages in the South Pacific in the mid - 18th century. To be tattooed as a male or female is a rite of passage into the inner circle of chiefs.

The hibiscus plant can be founded throughout Oceania and has a significant purpose for the survival of Pacific Islanders. Before modern medicine, the whole hibiscus plant could be used for medicinal purposes. The unbloomed flowers can be grained together to produce an antibiotic ointment. The lining of the branches is scraped and mixed together with water to produce a fever remedy. And the flowers can be arranged in bouquets for decorations and other multiple occasions.

The flags represent each Pacific Island Nation which is the structure of the Pacific Region or Oceania. The Pacific Region is composed of three ethnographic groups: Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Prior to modern navigation technology, Pacific Islanders are known for their navigation skills using the elements of nature, such as stars, wind, wave patterns, and the belief in a higher power to navigate the vast Pacific Ocean. According to National Geographic, there is physical evidence in the Americas that suggests the Polynesians discovered those continents some four hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Understanding one's heritage and history can expand an individual's knowledge of the world we live in.

Our values define the way we mature, individually and collectively. Values shape our culture and reflect what's important to us. Pacific Islanders are most proud of their identity through their culture and arts. For centuries, Islanders have learned through their music and dance, among others. Even their history has been passed down through their culture, arts and crafts, and our learning style has been hands-on, learning by doing. Our faith, values, culture has and will remain the fabric of our society.